Jerusalem at the Center of Start-up Nation
Written by Andy Kastner
Andy Kastner is the Director of Education Leadership and Innovation and is the Program Officer for Jerusalem Renewal at Leichtag Foundation
Last week, TIME Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine published the article “5 Emerging Tech Hubs From Around the World.” I was delighted to discover the list featured Jerusalem.
It’s not a surprise: Jerusalem has demonstrated itself to be adaptive, redefining itself as times change. Now, Jerusalem has rediscovered this spirit in the 21st century.
Jerusalem is at the center of, what author Dan Senor calls, Start-up Nation.
“Three years ago it was just an imaginary vision; no #community, no #ecosystem, no #StartupScene, no #hub or any other cool buzzword related to startups,” said Oded Barel, managing director at Siftech, a hands-on startup accelerator which leverages the power of the community to grow early-stage startups. “And now… over the past several years, Jerusalem is undergoing an incredible ‘renaissance’.”
As part of our Jerusalem Renewal strategy, Leichtag Foundation supports economic entrepreneurship as a sub-strategy of improving the quality of life for young people in the city.
We’re supporting three key organizations realizing this renewal and vision:
PresenTense is a community of innovators and entrepreneurs, thinkers and leaders, creators and educators, from around the world, who employ entrepreneurship as a tool to enrich communal life, grow local economies and solve critical issues facing society.
“Along side the growth in hi-tech activity, social innovation and enterprise is also flourishing – all contributing to the overall renewal and future focus of Jerusalem, a place usually famous for its history. PresenTense Israel, with support of the Leichtag Foundation, is proud to play a central role in the development of the ecosystem.” -Guy Spigelman, CEO
Siftech is a hands-on startup accelerator which leverages the power of the community to grow early-stages startups from their home base in JVP Media Quarter, Jerusalem. They actively guide entrepreneurs through the process of initial development of their product/service so it will match a true market need and provide the best possible solution for the problem they intend to solve.
“The ‘Jerusalem Startup Ecosystem’ is no longer a wishful thinking, it’s growing rapidly and there is an increasing amount of individuals and organizations, including the outstanding academic institutions, the municipality and the government that have recognized the massive potential this city consists. Our challenge now is not to ‘build’ the community and the ecosystem from scratch but to make sure we work in cooperation and ‘join forces’ in order to fulfill a common vision of turning the city into a leading global hub of creativity and innovation, a place where young and bright, innovative and creative entrepreneurs are choosing, as a launchpad of their crazy initiatives. We all did this together, let’s keep on rocking.” -Oded Barel, Managing Director
Jerusalem Entrepreneurs for Society and Technology (JEST)
JEST is a home for the startup community of East Jerusalem aimed to promote and support technology and the culture of innovation.
“Jerusalem is becoming a hotbed of innovation, and one of the primary contributors to this phenomena is the diverse nature of the city. Already there a several Haredi led StartUps and accelerators targeting this community. We also are witnessing a surge in activity in East Jerusalem, with the first technology hub JEST being set up, and residents choosing to form their companies in the city – rather than in Ramallah.” – Guy Spigelman, CEO of PresenTense, is serving as an advisor to JEST